March 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Sandra McLeod Humphrey, Children’s Book Author, Killed in House Fire

Sandra McLeod Humphrey, 76, an award-winning author of children’s books on character development, was killed in a house fire on November 23, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Her husband, Brian Humphrey, 77, was also killed.

The couple’s single-family home in Minnetonka, MN, was in flames at 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to news sources, including the Minneapolis/St. Paul TV network KARE 11. No official cause of the blaze has been released.

Humphrey was the author of nine books, all of which focused on “young people thinking and talking about important social and moral issues,” according to her website.

She was an avid user of Twitter (@sandra305) with close to 2,300 followers and over 18,000 tweets. Her most recent book, They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference (Prometheus, 2011), was published last November. The book profiles 25 individuals, including Nicolaus Copernicus and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who Humphrey hoped would inspire children to believe in themselves.

Her book Dare To Dream!: 25 Extraordinary Lives (Prometheus, 2005) featured biographical sketches of 20th-century individuals from Albert Einstein to Sammy Sosa. A School Library Journal review said of the book, “Although the group is eclectic, the individuals all have one thing in common: they became successful in the face of adversity and therefore are great candidates to become heroes for today’s youth.”

Humphrey explained on her website that she wrote Dare To Dream! after observing that many students she met during school visits had given up on their dreams and had no defined aspirations. “They were willing to settle for ‘just getting by’ and weren’t particularly interested in discovering their passions,” she wrote.

Humphrey’s book Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-downs (Prometheus, 2007) is included on many anti-bullying booklists, including The Berkshire (MA) District Attorney’s Bully Prevention Lending Library and the Aurora (CO) Public Schools Bully Prevention Resource List.

Hot Issues, Cool Choices features a collection of 26 vignettes depicting various forms of bullying and questions for discussion. The book received a 2008 Mom’s Choice Gold Award, a 2009 Young Voices Foundation Silver Award, and a 2009 Readers Favorite gold medal.

Humphrey received many other honors, including the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature from the Church & Synagogue Library Association (CSLA) and the 2012 American Authors Association Golden Quill Award.

Humphrey was also a retired clinical psychologist with over 35 years of experience working with young people, and a consultant for the Heroes & Dreams Foundation, which provides education materials to schools K-8 throughout the United States and Canada, according to her website.

The Humphreys are survived by three adult children.

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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.



  1. I love you, Sandra! I’m going to miss you so much.

  2. Sandra was a warm, loving colleague who somehow took me under her wing when our two groups merged. I will miss her beyond words and cherish her memory. It’s my firm belief that we keep people alive as long as we name them, remember them, and continue to speak about them.
    Let’s keep her in our thoughts and in our writing, above the tears, the pain, and the horrible feeling of injustice that is probably blowing a cold wind into our souls.

  3. I’m one of the thousands of people who got to know Sandra through her online presence, and although I never met her in person, I considered her to be my friend. She supported fellow authors, regardless of their genre, and was always available to pitch in with helpful advice or solutions. Her positive outlook was contagious. Although her books will continue to inspire future generations of children, she will be missed.

  4. Sandra will be greatly missed. Not only was she a great author but a wonderful person. She touched the lives of everyone she came into contact with. We will miss her terribly. May the stars in heaven dance with you and your beloved husband as we look up at the sky and remember you. May her family find peace knowing they are together and will continue to touch the lives of many.

  5. Sandra,
    You will be truly missed by so many. Sometimes in life we meet people that we never get to experience what that person was all about, but theres something inside you that says this person is special and worth knowing. I believe you were that person for me. I feel like I’m cheated but it was that age old adage I always said to myself I will get to know this person better when I get time, or I will peruse her books when I get time, of course we never let ourselves have that time. We always seem so caught up things that truly are meaningless and not worthy of our time like a possible good friend could have been. I will miss you and the woman I didn’t get to know will be missed more because she truly is a great person. Lori

  6. The words that I would like to say
    Come easier this way
    A dear friend gone to a better place
    May we meet her there one day.

    My mentor, a friend
    though we only met
    through emails late at night.

    Her kind words, guidance and inspiration
    Made hard times seem alright.

    She’d say “Don’t worry I’m praying for you
    The sick will be okay”
    And sure enough her prayers worked
    I’d tell her the next day.

    This great leader will surely be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

  7. Sandy,
    I know your spirit and that of your husband are still here among those who loved you and will be for some time yet, before you leave to spend an eternity with our Creator. I’m sure He has much for you to continue doing throughout eternity . I miss you more than I can say and can only hold you in my heart until the day we meet again and or friendship continues forever.

  8. I had been so busy in my world that I didn’t find out until now about Sandy and her loving husband. They will continue to be missed and loved by all whom they’ve encountered in life. Sandy’s work and commitment to children has made this world a better place. Sending you love and hugs, Trudy


  1. […] that found good in all people paying tribute to them Now, paying tribute to Sandy, our friend.… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  2. […] through the same LinkedIn Group that I found out that we lost Sandra. Here’s the link to the School Library Journal’s report on the death of Sandra McLeod […]